Consumer Online Purchasing Climbs

Top 5 Items Purchased Online
Books Aug. 1999 Aug. 1998 Change
26% 10% +16
CDs 24% 10% +14
Software 21% 11% +10
Comp. Hardware 13% 7% +6
Airline Tickets 12% 5% +7
Top 5 Items Window Shopped Online
Books Aug. 1999 Aug. 1998 Change
30% 18% +12
CDs 29% 17% +12
Airline Tickets 28% 18% +10
Software 28% 20% +8
Comp. Hardware 24% 16% +8
Source: Greenfield Online

Twelve months ago, just over half of the people on the Internet were making purchases. Now, three-quarters are buying and 82 percent of these are filling their online shopping carts with multiple purchases, according to Greenfield Online.

According to Greenfield’s Digital Consumer™, Generation X is doing the most online buying, with men just slightly more likely than women.

In the last 12 months, consumer e-commerce penetration peaked at 74 percent in the quarter after Christmas and then plateaued at 70 percent in each of the next two quarters. the slight turndown and subsequent leveling off made headlines several weeks ago when Greenfield Online’s research showed the first signs that Internet shopping was not a never-ending upward climb. Participation in online auctions has plateaued at just over 40 percent for three quarters.

Items that don’t have to be touched or tried on have always topped e-commerce lists, but online purchases of clothing have more than doubled in the last 12 months. A year ago, only 4 percent of online consumers were buying clothes on the Internet. Now, 10 percent of consumers are. Online CD and airline ticket purchasing also have more than double.

Some 3,000 US consumers with Internet access participated in Greenfield Online’s August tracking study. Among the trends it uncovered is that consumers are not shopping online to get bargains, in fact, most consumers say prices on the Internet are comparable to store and catalog pricing.

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